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As many of you know, I use ScanPower List and Mobile in my business to make me more efficient. I’ve used them for about three years. During that time, other programs have been introduced but I’ve not spent much time investigating them because I’m pleased with what I have and I’ve invested time learning how to use ScanPower.  However, since new sellers do have more options now, I’ve asked my fellow FBA sellers to share their experiences with other solutions and what they like about them. 

The good news for the FBA seller is it seems like a lot of the new options are robust with lots of features to make your selling life easier. What is important when selecting a listing/scouting provider is to get one that makes sense to you and helps you in your business. Today’s guest blog is from Ray Lunaburg. He switched to InventoryLab from ScanPower a few months ago after the Unity2 introduction. His thoughts and opinions are based on his personal experiences. If you have follow-up questions for him, please post in the comments below and he’ll get back to you.

I switched over to InventoryLab’s listing program and SellerEngine’s ProfitBandit scouting tool from ScanPower List and Scout last year when ScanPower updated its software to Unity2.  I had been interested in InventoryLab’s built-in bookkeeping and if I had to learn something new, I might as well give InventoryLab a try.  I’m glad that I did.  I find that it not only helps me list my products efficiently, but it easily tells me which items are/were profitable.  It also makes it easy for me to determine profitability on merchant-fulfilled items, not just FBA. I enter my costs at the time of listing and shipping so there’s no need for “double-entry” later. Here’s my process and pricing for inventory listing now that I’m using InventoryLab vs. ScanPower:

Inventory Lab:

1. Source the item using Profit Bandit ($15.00 one-time charge)

2. Remove Stickers

3. Enter item using a Listing Service (InventoryLab – $40.00 per month). Record item cost and shipping costs as I go.

4. Pack the item

5. Ship the item to Amazon

6. Reprice the item as needed [on Amazon.com’s SellerCentral – I have to use “Manage Inventory” one at a time]

7. Sell the item via FBA or Merchant fulfilled. InventoryLab pulls sales information from SellerCentral for me.

8. InventoryLab updates the profit/cost per item for me as items sell. A dashboard shows your profit/cost based on your actual selling price and cost. There are charts I can pull up as well.

Scan Power:

1. Source the item (Scan Power Mobile bundled with List – see below)

2. Remove Stickers

3. Enter item using a Listing Service (ScanPower – $60.00 per month bundle price or $40 without mobile app). Record item cost.

4. Pack the item

5. Ship the item

6. Enter the cost of the Product into Quickbooks or a Spreadsheet Template***

7. Reprice the item as needed [ScanPower has a built in Repricer included]

8. Sell the item via FBA or Merchant Fulfilled

9. Export a report from Amazon and compare it to the Excel template or Quickbooks report for Profit or Loss

10. Tally, Massage, Tweak until you get a dollar amount

***Note from Cynthia: ScanPower now offers a data report that can be exported into a spreadsheet that includes your item cost assuming you’ve been entering it as you go – thus reducing double-entry. It does not do any calculations for you.

The listing function of both products is similar and takes the same amount of time. You just scan in your barcode/ISBN and adjust the condition, notes and price as needed. InventoryLab does not have a scouting tool nor a repricer. I’m OK with ProfitBandit as my scouting tool, but I hope that InventoryLab will add a repricer in the future.

The main advantages of InventoryLab are the reports and bookkeeping. Knowing the profitability of an item helps to determine if you should continue selling it. We all understand intuitively if we are making money or bleeding. It’s extremely convenient to see it in a graph which InventoryLab provides. I can add travel expenses and my price per hour of labor into InventoryLab as well as my actual shipment and box/packing/tape costs.  This allows me to calculate my P&L by shopping trip as well as per item. This level of expense integration helps keep my actual costs per item as close to reality as possible. In addition, InventoryLab keeps track of the sales tax collected for me by Amazon and Amazon’s fees for being a Pro Seller, collecting sales tax, etc. The sales tax is counted as income and then deducted as an expense when I pay it, for example.

I particularly like the fact that InventoryLab automatically calculates my profitability for me when an item is sold. The interface is friendly and easy to use. Everything is all on one screen without needing to open up different screens for pricing, notes, etc. InventoryLab also offers very responsive customer service – something that I felt was lacking at ScanPower.

InventoryLab also keeps track of after-shipment expenses like my returns and reimbursements for which is very handy and an important part of knowing whether or not you are making money. I know there are separate services that do this and there are reports inside of SellerCentral, but it is nice to have it bundled as part of my InventoryLab program and to not have to click around on multiple screens to find the information. It is much easier to see if there is a problem with a reimbursement or return when the report is right inside of InventoryLab.

From my perspective, the main disadvantage to InventoryLab is no built-in repricer. The main disadvantage to ScanPower is no built in accounting or profitability reports. While ScanPower now keeps track of your out-of-pocket inventory item cost for you, they do not make the data more meaningful to you. I’m happy with InventoryLab and encourage new sellers to try their free trial for themselves. Even though the website says “Beta” on it, the product has been out for more than a year and is robust.

This is Cynthia again.  I pulled screenshots from both InventoryLab and ScanPower to see the differences between how the Listing actually works. I’ve noted the differences for you below:

 

InventoryLab:

  • Easy to add expenses as you go – no double entry later into a spreadsheet or accounting program
  • You can get the net on any price you choose – merchant fulfilled as well as FBA. Takes into account your out-of-pocket cost for the item as well.
  • Automatically pulls P&L for you when an item sells so you can see right away if it was a good product for you
  • Works with a wide range of thermal label printers
  • All the information you need is all on one page and you can see it in a glance – condition, number of units, cost, pricing, printing…everything

 



ScanPower:

  • Provides net for current FBA offers
  • Tells you how many units each FBA seller has at the warehouse
  • More detailed note capabilities beyond Condition
  • Integrated with ScanPower Scout for easy import of items bought on shopping trip – no need to re-scan
  • Integrated with Repricer (see “Floor” and “Ceiling” options for how you can help control your repricing within a profitable range)

One of the points I make to new sellers is to get a handle on your expenses and true profits. When I talk about Amazon’s FBA fee hikes every year, I include a spreadsheet that I use to help me create some of my scouting rules for myself.  Ray’s experience indicates that InventoryLab does a lot of that work for you – a really helpful benefit for busy FBA Sellers! 

Since This Post Was First Published, InventoryLab Has Generously Offered My Readers Code To Extend Its Free Trial To A Full Month. Simply Type In FB30During Checkout To Get An Additional Two Weeks For Free! This Offer Is Good Through March 2014.

Do you use another service like Listtee, SellerEngine or ASellerTool? I’d love to hear from you for a future blog post!